:: Finding a Support Person
:: Identification, Placement and Review Committe (IPRC)
:: IPRC Appeal Process
:: Individual Education Plan (IEP)
:: Kid's Help Phone

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what is advocacy?

“Advocacy” refers to the efforts of an individual or group to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert the interests, desires, needs and rights of yourself or another person.

An advocate is . . .
a person who speaks up for, and defends the rights of him or herself, or of another person.

A self-advocate is . . .
a person who speaks up for him or herself, and defends his or her own rights.

Parent-advocates are . . .
people who speak up for, and defend the rights of their children, and are willing to work with a school or other service provider to make sure that their children get the services they need and deserve.

A person does not have to be a lawyer to defend his or her own rights, or the rights of people that they care about.  An “advocate” is any person who speaks up for his or her own rights or for the rights of others.

To be an advocate, you do not need a perfect understanding of the law.  Many people who work for organizations in communities across the province are not lawyers, but have a basic understanding of the law as it applies to your situation.  These people can help you to understand your options, and help you to decide if you need to call a lawyer.

When you are working to defend the rights of your child to ensure that he or she is being treated fairly, and getting the education services he or she needs, you are a parent-advocate.

Law Reform

The purpose of another kind of advocacy work is to change laws, policies or practices.  Some lawyers, community workers, unions and lobby groups advocate with the government or local school boards on behalf of their clients or members, or on behalf of a disadvantaged group in society.  This is called “law reform”.

Anyone can get involved in law reform.  If you would like to get involved in making changes to the education system, there are national, provincial, and local advocacy groups that you can join.

In the Education & Advocacy Links section of this web site, we provide a list of some of the parent associations, and other organizations, working to change the education system in Ontario.

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